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Employers’ Biggest Resume and Cover Letter Pet Peeves [By Mary Waldron] Whether they are right out of college or 20 years into their careers, many people cannot seem to overcome the alarmingly noticeable resume and cover letter flaws and missteps that many employers describe as their biggest pet peeves. Do yourself a favor and pay attention because in this business-as in any business-there are no second chances when it comes to committing these sins of style.

The most humiliating moments occur

looking at it, and then make someone else

at your resume for your phone number

when applicants emphasize that they

look at it at least once. Even after making

to call you in for an interview, but you

possess certain abilities or skills and then

adjustments, make sure that you set it aside

seem to have neglected to include that

get caught red-handed committing sins

for awhile and then look at it another couple

information. Okay, the employer is

that contradict their assertions. If you

of times before sending it out. It sounds

annoyed, but he likes you, so he proceeds

tell an employer that you have extreme

obsessive, but you have to be obsessive in

to locate your email address, which, thank

attention to detail and you accidentally say

order to ensure that all mistakes have been

God, is there. He writes you an email

that you held a job from 1999 to 2015, you

caught. One mistake can kill the brilliance

asking if you are interested in meeting

will look ridiculous and your credibility

of the entire document. Why do you think

next Monday at 10:00 a.m., even going

will be damaged from then on. It is really

many companies hire proofreaders? People

so far as to compliment your excellent

that simple, which is why it is so important

get paid to be those extra sets of eyes

writing ability. When he returns to his

to draft and review your resume and

catching spelling and grammar errors. Do

inbox, he sees the dreaded email subject

cover letter as though your life depends

not let a simple mistake hold you back from

heading that so many employers come

on them. It does…well, maybe just your

landing your dream job.

across when attempting to contact

professional life.

applicants: “Delivery Status Notification Along with meticulously proofreading,

(Failure).” If he has not already stepped

This leads me to the first pet peeve of many

always research and find the correct

into the hall to scream in frustration, he

employers. You know what? I am actually

spelling and punctuation for every company

will probably immediately toss out your

going to be bold and say all employers.

and personal name you mention. Simply

resume and cover letter. At this point, you

There is no tolerance for misspellings,

guessing is not good enough. Also, if the

have not only wasted his time, but now he

typos, and poor grammar in resumes and

employer’s name is unisex and you plan

has another useless piece of email filling

cover letters-unless you are lucky enough to

on addressing him or her as Mr. or Ms.,

his inbox, and he has no way of contacting

have your potential employer overlook such

do everything in your power (aside from

you-even if he still wants to, just to

mistakes, but I would not bet on that. This

harassing the employer’s office) to find out

scream at you. This sort of event might

is one of those things that does not give you

the person’s gender. He or she will surely

be called a “deal breaker.” Tsk, tsk. So,

an extra advantage but, rather, is expected.

be peeved if you get it wrong because,

in conclusion, make sure that you include

Make sure that you do not put all of your

unlike other cover letter and resume

contact information, and make sure that it

faith into your word processing program’s

mishaps, this one is personal.

is correct. Need I say more?

words and misuses of words. For example,

Surprisingly, many employers complain

Employers are also annoyed when they

if you type in “manger,” meaning to type

about applicants leaving misspelled or

look at resumes that are cluttered and

“manager,” the spell checker will leave it

missing contact information. Imagine

lacking in organization. Always choose

because “manger” is the correct spelling of

this beautiful scene: an employer looks

a standard, easy-to-read, 10- to 12-point

another word.

at your resume, a pleasantly impressed

font and ample-sized margins. If you have

smile crosses his face, he refers to your

many years of experience, then you may

It is invaluable for you to proofread your

cover letter, another smile crosses his

have to break down and make your resume

resume over and over, until you are sick of

face, he is sold…and then he looks back

two pages long. Do not try to squeeze

spell checker, as it may not catch unfamiliar


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1. 800.973.1177

everything onto one page if doing so will

Also, remember that a resume is not a

the rest of the text can add some style and

sacrifice the quality of the document. If

cover letter, meaning that an employer

clarity, as well.

you are only a few years into your career,

does not want to see a continuous stream

you should be able to compose a decent

of words, line after line, as he or she

Above all, read over your cover letter and

one-page resume. Sometimes, you may

reads your resume. Break up sections

resume repeatedly, reflecting on what a

need to omit information that is not

with bullets, dashes, spaces, and lines,

potential employer would want to see. It is

necessary in order to avoid squeezing in

creating an eye-pleasing arrangement of

the attention to those small details that will

and compacting words.

words. Using a slightly different font for

get a stellar job candidate noticed in a sea

your headings to differentiate them from

of mediocrity.


Employers' Biggest Resume and Cover Letter Pet Peeves  

People Cannot Seem To Overcome The Alarmingly Noticeable Resume And Cover Letter Flaws And Missteps That Many Employers Describe As Their Bi...

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